Journal of animal science

Effect of dietary n-3 fatty acids (fish oils) on boar reproduction and semen quality.

PMID 20348371


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of dietary supplementation with different fish oils (rich in PUFA) vs. hydrogenated animal fat (SFA) on semen production and quality, fatty acid composition, and preservation properties in boars under controlled and commercial conditions. In Exp. 1 (in a research station), 44 boars, allocated to 4 dietary treatments, received daily 2.5 kg of basal diet with a supplement of 1) 62 g of hydrogenated animal fat (AF, n = 12); 2) 60 g of menhaden oil containing 18% docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and 15% eicosapentanoic acid (EPA; MO, n = 11); 3) 60 g of tuna oil containing 33% DHA and 6.5% EPA (TO, n = 11); and 4) 60 g of menhaden oil and 2 mg/kg of biotin (MO+B, n = 10). Biotin is a critical factor in the elongation of PUFA. Semen was collected according to 3 successive phases: phase 1 (twice per week for 4 wk); phase 2 (daily collection for 2 wk); and phase 3 (twice per week for 10 wk). Experiment 2 was conducted in commercial conditions; 222 boars were randomly allocated to AF, MO, and TO treatments. Semen was collected twice weekly over a 6-mo period. All diets were balanced to be iso-energetic and provided an equivalent of 989 mg of vitamin E per day. Classical measurements of sperm quantity and quality were done for both experiments. Experiment 1 showed, after 28 wk of supplementation, a massive transfer of n-3 PUFA into sperm from boars fed fish oil diets (MO and TO). No differences were observed among dietary treatments for libido (P > 0.30), sperm production (P > 0.20), or percentage of motile cell (P > 0.20). Unexpectedly, MO+B diet reduced the percentage of normal sperm compared with the other treatments (P < 0.03). In conclusion, although it modified the fatty acid composition of sperm, supplementation of boars with dietary fish oils, rich in long chain n-3 fatty acids, did not influence semen production or quality postejaculation.

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F8020 Fish oil from menhaden, crude source of omega-3 fatty acids